BBC Springwatch 2021: Opening episode showcases Norfolk at its best

Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan at Heacham Bottom Farm where some of the

Springwatch presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan. - Credit: Danielle Booden

BBC Springwatch returned to our screens live from Norfolk capturing the "daily dramas" of birds such as avocets and swallows.

The new series first aired at 8pm on Tuesday, May 25 live on BBC Two with presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan from Wild Ken Hill, near Snettisham, and will be broadcast from Tuesday to Friday for the next three weeks.

The show was also hosted by Iolo Williams, presenting form Alladale in Scotland, and Gillian Burke from Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.


Lorryloads of equipment have been brought to Wild Ken Hill, from where Springwatch 2021 is being broadcast - Credit: Andrew Waddison/AW PR

It kickstarted with footage of a damp brown hare chewing on a stem of red clover, followed by Mr Packham and Ms Strachan introducing the west Norfolk countryside as the base of this year's programme to celebrate a "vision of the future", which was this year's theme.

Mr Packham said: "This remarkable part of the Norfolk landscape is full of proactive conservation, some great rewilding and regenerative farming, and that has had a very positive effect on the wildlife."

The series explores how the late spring is affecting a range of animals, and the presenters said it was chilly and wet on site on Tuesday as they dealt with pouring rain during rehearsals.

Behind the scenes at Heacham Bottom Farm where some of Springwatch is being filmed. Picture: Daniell

Springwatch is being broadcast live from Wild Ken Hill, near Snettisham. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Ms Strachan added that it was a "bizarre spring".

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A variety of nest cameras are set up around the estate overlooking animals such as swallows and kestrels, and the presenters introduced viewers to buzzard chicks that are said to be around 15 days old.

Viewers also heard how chiffchaff at the site are feeding their young on insects and how brown hares were active during the evening period, known for their boxing matches at this time of year particularly during the mating season.

The rewilding area at the Wild Ken Hill estate in west Norfolk

Guided tours have been launched for visitors to explore the rewilding area at the Wild Ken Hill estate in west Norfolk - Credit: Wild Ken Hill

Mr Packham said there is a "super abundance" of brown hares at Wild Ken Hill and has seen more of the animals while on the farm than he has in the last year.

Viewers were told how the 4,000 acre farm consisted of three areas used for traditional conservation, rewilding and regenerative agriculture.

Brown hares boxing. Numbers are in decline but Norfolk remains a stronghold. Picture: ROBERT BANNIST

Stock photograph of brown hares boxing. - Credit: Archant

EDP reporter Chris Bishop went behind the scenes at the site on Monday to reveal how BBC Springwatch is bringing the Norfolk countryside to our screens.